best kind of windows

Old 12-15-06, 06:34 AM
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best kind of windows

i have a 30 year modiuliar home which im sure the wooden windows need changing. the house is in northwestern ontario where it gets cold in the winter. i would like to know what would be the best type of replacement windows to buy? is double pane good or should i invest in triple pane is the low e coating really worth the extra money? how do i measure the hole so the window people will understand me and i get the right size?
Old 12-15-06, 07:16 AM
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Your windows can be replaced in two different manners: 1). total tear out, replacement with a new unit that has nailing flanges 2). retrofit, where the frame stays in place, but the sashes are removed and a new replacement window is fit in place.

Depending on your window style (casement, awning, double hung, etc) it may be more practical to go with the total tearout. Also, when doing a retrofit installation, many carpenters will cover all exterior wood with a metal break and aluminum trim coil which serves 2 purposes- makes it so you don't have to paint the old trim, and it covers up any wood fillers they may have to add. That is something that a DIY'er often cannot do, but breaks are available for rent and it's not *real* difficult to learn to do one you know the basics.

With any type of installation, the windows basically remain the same- you can get several different kinds... wood/composite (interior/exterior), wood/aluminum (interior/exterior), all vinyl, all fiberglass. The price of the window varies depending on the material and brand chosen.

The glass makes up roughly 90% of a window's area, so it is actually IMO the biggest factor in choosing a window. For your area, your climate basically demands that you get the best performance window available. I'm assuming that it gets below 0F frequently in the winter? You would likely benefit from triple pane, low-e, krypton filled IGUs.

Just to tell you a little story, I just got done installing a house full of windows for someone who did not want the best glass- he got standard double pane glass. Well, his house is very humid- RH is about 50%. The day we started installing them, it got down to about 5F that night. They awoke to a LOT of condensation- so much that when you tipped the windows in to clean, water ran down them like pouring water out of a glass! Now granted, that's an unusual situation- they obviously have a humid basement, poor ventilation from their HVAC, and he had been painting in the house that day. They don't have a bathroom vent fan and the heater draws cold air return from the basement floor! I don't know what difference triple pane would have made, but I suggested to him that we order new sashes for one window (that would be triple pane/low-e/krypton) and make a real-life comparison. If the problem goes away, he might order all new sashes for his windows with the better glass, and just pay the added cost.

Now the reason his windows had so much condensation is basically three things- cold temps outside (condensation is rarely a problem unless the temperature outside drops below about 20F, provided it is about 70F inside the home). high humidity inside (the lower the humidity in your home, the less chance you have for condensation because it lowers the dew point- the temperature at which water will condense on the edge of your glass) The last factor is the center of glass temperature. If you could take temperature readings at various locations on a window, the center of an insulating glass unit (IGU) is the warmest spot on the glass area. The glass gets colder, however, as you near the edges of the glass and that is the area where condensation can be a problem. So the idea is that if the center of glass temp. is as warm as possible, that will in turn warm the edge of the glass.

There is about a 7 or 8 F difference between the center of glass temperature of a clear double-pane IGU and a low-e, krypton filled triple-pane. So in answer to your question, yes, it's better!

Telling you how to measure is a little difficult until you clarify how the windows will be replaced- which of the 2 methods you will use. And even then it's hard to describe on the internet, but some pictures of your windows inside and out might help. (pics can be uploaded to file sharing websites and the link to the pics can then be pasted into a message)

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